Upper ocean biogeochemistry
Biogeochemical responses to climate variability
Project Manager: Tim Pennington/Reiko Michisaki
Lead Scientist: Francisco Chavez
With current and emerging technologies we have opened a window to the dynamic
connections between physical, chemical and biological processes in central
California waters. Our explorations have uncovered the drivers of seasonal and
interannual variations in the main biogeochemical cycles of Monterey Bay. As our
understanding improves the ocean becomes a natural laboratory in which we can
study processes general to both coastal and open ocean systems. Here we propose
to continue this exploration of central California waters for three more years.
Our long-term objective is to develop a state-of-the-art ocean observing system
that will take the pulse of the central California ecosystem continuously, with
minimal human intervention.
Our short-term objectives are to:
- Continue the shipboard time series to C1, M1 and M2 and moorings M1, M2
and S2. We have tantalizing indications that a regime shift may have
occurred towards the end of the last decade. The next several years will be
critical in confirming this shift. And of course the shadow of global
warming looms; the data collected to date provides the baseline needed to
assess the impact of anthropogenic perturbations.
- Initiate an Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) section parallel to the shipboard effort to determine the
aliasing in the ship measurements and the feasibility of regular AUV
surveys. A separate proposal detailing the development of an AUV payload is
being put forth.
- Continue collaborations with our colleagues working on midwater and
benthic systems to gain a better understanding of the fate of surface
- Continue the synthesis of data collected to date. Emphasis will be on the
development of conceptual models that can be tested experimentally and
specific equations for modeling and prediction. In addition new nuggets are
continually mined out of the existing archives.
- Continue comparison of new and existing data collected from ships and
moorings to determine which measurements can be made long term from
- Develop algorithms that relate autonomous measurements (i.e. fluorescence,
backscatter, attenuation) to ship-based measurements such as primary
- Use measurements of currents to predict trajectories for phytoplankton,
larval stages of benthic invertebrates and other zooplankton.
- Support canyon dynamics with repeated CTDs at site C1 for calibration of
in situ sensors.
- Provide data for model initialization and validation. Analyze model
solutions to determine if our first principles can be used to simulate the
real world. Develop new first principles and use models to carry out
experiments that will help define future ocean observing systems.
Every policy document written over the past decade emphasizes the need for
sustained time-series measurements to characterize natural and human-induced
changes in ocean processes. While many coastal efforts exist, few have been able
to sustain time series like those at Hawaii and Bermuda for open ocean sites.
The MBARI time series is unique in this respect. The MBARI effort is
multi-investigator including Chavez, DeLong, Friederich, Johnson, Scholin, and
Silver. The data also support the research efforts of Robison, Barry and Paull
as well as a large number of students and investigators from local institutions.